On-demand paper book self-publishing service Blurb isn’t scared of the current boom in e-books. The company has just announced record growth in its 2009 results and tells me it will be expanding to offer e-book publishing this year.
Based in San Francisco and London, Blurb offers downloadable book-making software from which users can order as many, or as few, copies of their creation as they wish.
Blurb says it has created and shipped more than 1.2 million books in 2009 – more volume than the company had shipped in total since its launch in 2006. The profitable company today reports 50% year-over-year revenue growth with 2009 sales of more than $45 million. Figures for the UK were particularly strong, with year-on-year growth of 152% meaning that 40% of the business is now outside of the US.
The record growth came in a year that saw the company expand beyond the consumer market by appealing to creative professionals with its PDF to Book workflow, aimed at photographers, graphic designers and advertising/marketing agencies.
Blurb CEO Eileen Gittins, told me that she hopes the company will continue its growth this year through innovation, partnerships with “Brands that matter” and an expansion into more markets around the world.
E-book publishing coming this year
With e-books being a hot topic right now, Blurb is placing its bet on the future of books being ‘transmedia’. Gittins explains this as “Storytelling across multiple media and multiple entry points. In 2010 you’ll start seeing some initial efforts to enable digital versions of Blurb books as shareable and participatory media.”
Whether authors will opt to publish e-books through Blurb when the barrier to doing it themselves is so low remains to be seen. Regardless, Gittins is bullish about the future for paper books.
“The emergence of ebooks really brings into focus the reasons why one might want a digital version or a print version. Both editions are valid. I am an ebook reader owner and I tend to buy ebooks that I am going to consume once. It’s great for taking with me when I am on the road. I have even bought both the ebook version and the print editions of several books.”